1993-04 Bowl with Bird Hanging from Sky Band Design

Object ID:

Nampeyo 1 (unsigned)

Corn Clan, Tewa, Tewa Village

3.625"h X 10.50" w

Hopi white-slipped bowl with three-color polychrome Sikyatki abstract-avian image, tadpoles, and sky band by Nampeyo, ca.1895-1910.

Of all the Hopi, Hopi-Tewa and Nampeyo pots in the collection, 1993-04 is the pivotal piece. It is as close as I am likely to get to that moment when Polacca “D” pottery gave way to the more commercially successful Hano Polychrome/Sikyatki Revival ware that for the last 100 years has defined “Hopi pottery” in the market. Since Nampeyo uniquely contributed to this transition, bowl 1993-04 is also central to the story of her artistic development. If the eagle-tail design of 2005-16 represents the height of Nampeyo’s creative genius (see Appendix C), bowl 1993-04 marks the path by which she achieved such perfection. (For a bowl by Nampeyo that precedes the transition to her Sikyatki Revival style, see 2009-17.)

Bowl 1993-04 marks a particularly important point in the development of Hopi-Tewa pottery and the development of Nampeyo’s mature style. An extensive essay about this bowl, its place in Hopi-Tewa ceramic history and its importance to the development of Nampeyo’s classic style appears in Appendix B. Briefly, the slip on the interior of 1993-06 marks it as transitional between Polacca ware and Sikyatki Revival pottery. Its “Bird Hanging from Sky Band” design is taken directly from a particular Sikyatki bowl. By repeatedly drawing variations of this design from 1893 until the end of her paining career about 1920, Nampeyo developed six iconic design techniques that would mark her as a “genius” ceramicist. For the full argument, see Appendix B.

For an elegant modern version of this design by a Nampeyo descendent four generation removed from “the Old Lady,” see 2010-23 by Steve Lucas.

Purchase History:
Purchased from Rick Dillingham, 5/17/93 during a visit to his home. This was the last pot I bought from him before his death the following January.